If you had limited funds which would you do first?

(33 Posts)
TheElementsSong Mon 09-May-16 13:07:37

This is probably going to be long (stream-of-consciousness) so bear with me.

We've recently moved into a miserable moneypit house and (for my sanity if nothing else) need to make some improvements. In the short term we have 2 possible projects and we can't decide which is the priority.

(1) The master bedroom has a huge en suite shower room of very dubious workmanship and poorly designed layout (it is not original to house). We have concerns about dodgy installation of soil pipe, poor plumbing with high probability of hidden leaks, hideous tiling, etc. The size and poor design also means that the bedroom is (spatially) wrecked - we can't sensibly fit a double bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers shock. Because of this, we are squeezed into 2nd bedroom, while the master bedroom is a wasteland of boxes and junk. So we would like to redesign layout to make smaller en suite and useable master bedroom all done to a proper standard. Obviously this will cost not just the bathroom work but also complete redecoration of the bedroom.

(2) The kitchen is another disaster area of poorly designed layout, insufficient storage and awful standard of installation (are you sensing a theme here?). Despite the kitchen being a decent-sized room, the previous owners moved the boiler upstairs into what is now DD2's bedroom. So we would like to move the boiler back, which will require a new kitchen design as there is nowhere we can fit it with the current arrangement of units. And while we're at it, we're planning to knock through into the dining room and install some French doors to the garden.

We have about £10-15K to spend, which is probably plenty for (1) but rather tight for (2). But we feel that (1) is a bit selfish, whilst the whole family (especially DD2) would benefit from (2). So, wise MNetters, WWYD? grin

randomsabreuse Mon 09-May-16 13:14:14

Do 1. If your doubts are correct it is a whole family issue! Assuming not a bungalow anyway.. We were going to ignore our dodgy en suite until we peeked under the lino and saw how damp the area around the toilet was. :bleugh:

Also frees up another bedroom once done so DD 2 benefits!

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Mon 09-May-16 13:20:20

I'd do option 1 on the basis that you don't know what you'll uncover and any leaks and water damage could affect your newly refurbed downstairs when you come to tackle them later on. Work from the top down.

When you say you're squashed into bedroom two, are you sharing? or would DD2 be able to move into there?

Is your central heating gas or some other fuel? if it's oil by any chance you can have the boiler outdoors.

AndNowItsSeven Mon 09-May-16 13:21:10

Two , you really shouldn't have a boiler in a child's bedroom. You only sleep in your room so as long as you have bed and wardrobe that's fine.

DontFeedTheDailyFail Mon 09-May-16 13:22:55

If it was either or I'd do 2.

However I'd be thinking longer term and how money will be trickling in as to when 1 will be done.

If the 10-15k wipes you out for a few years then I'd consider working on the kitchen layout design, working out how the dining room/ kitchen wall removal would work, deciding what sort of patio doors I wanted, the bedroom layout design and the ensuite design.

I'd then get quotes for all the structural elements i.e. Putting up walls where you want them in the bedroom, removal of wall kitchen dining, new patio doors and then get quotes for moving boiler downstairs.

On a tight budget there are many labour elements you can do yourself. The obvious painting and decorating but also some of the stripping back.

It doesn't sound as though you're using the ensuite right now and you sound like you're cramped in bed two. If you removed the old ensuite and capped of the plumbing, relayed out the bedroom you could be looking at just a couple of days paid labour to be in your room. Albeit with a store room rather than ensuite.

If the kitchen units are in good order would you consider reusing them or reusing the carcasses getting extra as required and adding new doors fixings and worktops?

TheElementsSong Mon 09-May-16 13:32:25

We are getting around the dodgy en suite issue by using it as little as possible (after all, it is en suite to a bedroom we are not sleeping in). There is a family bathroom which we all use at the moment, it is also likely to have dubious plumbing - we are going to budget separately for redoing it which is why I didn't mention it in my OP.

We're not sharing a bedroom with the DCs (thank goodness!), it's just that the 2nd bedroom is quite a small double so it is a squeeze. And stupid when bedroom 1 is actually a lovely size if not for the giant en suite slicing into it.

We were veering towards (2) mainly because of wanting to move the boiler out of DD's bedroom, I just feel icky that it's in there. And I also have concerns about the plumbing, electrics and workmanship in the kitchen, goodness knows what is lurking under the floorboards. But of course it would also be great to have a nicely designed and properly built kitchen-diner!

TheElementsSong Mon 09-May-16 13:35:54

Oh I should add that the kitchen units, appliances and layout, are beyond SHIT (despite being probably less than 6 years old) and can't be salvaged. It is hard to describe without pictures but to accommodate the boiler (and to knock through to the dining room) would require everything ripped out anyway.

randomsabreuse Mon 09-May-16 13:41:32

I'm influenced by my experiences - ensuite will smell horrible if not used and if you're in master dd2 can have your current room to get her out of the boiler room!

We also bought a moneypit. Worst thing we found was dry rot in the skirting boards behind the badly fitted bath, fortunately in the downstairs bathroom and nowhere near any structural woodwork!

Therefore doubtful plumbing is my highest priority!

2016Hopeful Mon 09-May-16 14:01:17

I would probably do 2 first as you only sleep in your bedroom but spend most (waking) time in family areas. Could your daughter sleep in the main bedroom and just not use ensuite until boiler is out of her room?

Qwebec Mon 09-May-16 14:04:19

I also second option 1.dodgy pluming can be a huge issue. you don't want the tub falling though the second floor and your family can get seriously ill from mold. It's really important to takle the biggest hazards first or they spread as explained above.
I totally get that it's not fun. I'm giving up doubling our living space to change our tennant's windows. I won't even benefit from the new windows, but I need to protect my house from rotting and make sure my tennants don't freeze in the winter so they became top priority.

TheElementsSong Mon 09-May-16 14:06:10

Typed a reply and lost it angry!

I didn't think of the en suite smelling shock! Now veering back to (1). I guess we could do as DontFeed suggests and just cap off the plumbing after fixing the layout, until funds permit. Regardless, the bedroom will need major redecoration when the en suite is resized - coving, reskimming and repainting walls, new fitted carpet.

namechangedtoday15 Mon 09-May-16 14:54:55

Not really the same as we didn't have funds full stop but I do think having a cringeworthy downstairs / kitchen had more of an impact on our lives (as a family) than any of the problems upstairs.

Didn't want to invite people round which made us seem really anti social - when we did, it was all quite formal as guests had to sit in the dining room whilst I cooked in the kitchen, family meal times were a squash in the kitchen, drove me crazy having young children in a room next door whilst I was in the small kitchen. I also couldn't see the children in the garden if I was in the kitchen. Just didn't work at all but couldn't change it for quite a few years.

If I could, I'd be tempted to spend a small amout of your budget in sorting out the plumbing problems in the ensuite, but not doing any other work. Manage with the layout issues. Then tackle the kitchen. Your budget would be extremely tight (maybe consider an IKEA kitchen or similar you can pay for on interest free credit) but I think there is more benefit to option 2.

TheElementsSong Mon 09-May-16 15:04:06

namechanged you are describing my house exactly! Embarrassing downstairs, guests having to wait in dining room while I "slave" in the kitchen, can't see the DC in the garden from the kitchen window...

Primaryteach87 Mon 09-May-16 15:06:44

I'd do 2, because personally I don't spend a huge amount of time in my bedroom.
Also if downstairs looks nice if be happier having people over which would improve my mood!

randomsabreuse Mon 09-May-16 16:01:29

If it was just layout issues I'd go 2 first but I'd prioritise plumbing issues over everything else because they can do so much hidden damage!

We were planning to leave an ensuite with a tiled ceiling and no door until we checked under the lino... capping off and making good would be a good compromise.

ChocolateHelps Mon 09-May-16 16:11:09

Can you do kitchen knock thru and possibly move boiler into master en suite? Boilers in bathrooms can work really well whereas it often means you loose a cupboard in the kitchen and have annoying boxing in of pipes.

Ikea kitchens, when glued and screwed can be really good. Layout of kitchen is more important than units and laminate worktops and baumatic appliances will serve you well for a few years.

Agree that getting en suite ripped out at the same time, so you know what you're in for without risking leaving it only to get worse!

TheElementsSong Mon 09-May-16 16:25:59

We can't move the boiler to the master en suite, it's too far from where the gas pipes come in to the house. We might be able to move it to the family bathroom as that is a bit closer, but that too would require a complete re-fit.

I have (hopefully) attached a picture of the house floorplan. The en suite in the master bedroom looks misleadingly small, it's actually completely in-your-face huge, I don't know what the previous owners were thinking!

minipie Mon 09-May-16 16:54:48

I wonder if you could build a tiny (cupboard sized) extension onto the back left corner of your kitchen, and move the boiler into there? So basically the boiler moves downwards vertically and slightly backwards into what's currently the garden (just left of the kitchen window). That should be doable from a gas pipes pov. Would mean you could avoid rejigging the whole kitchen and could be fairly cheap.

Then you could do 1) and get rid of the boiler from upstairs.

If that's not possible then I think I'd do 1) and then make bedroom 2 into DD2's room (with proviso that she moves back to the boiler room when guests stay).

namechangedtoday15 Mon 09-May-16 17:27:07

That was pretty much our house are you local to me she wonders. I don't think it would be a massive expense to get the boiler moved from the bedroom to the kitchen below.

I would lose the back door in the kitchen and knock down the wall between the kitchen and dining room. If you did that, you could lose the door into the kitchen from the hall too (and use the dining room door) or vice versa. Install a new budget-friendly kitchen, get the boiler in a cupboard and it would look lovely. I think you could do that within your budget.

Upstairs, you could just have the plumbing capped off in the ensuite and leave the room for the time being until you had funds to do it all properly, or get it all ripped out, have the room plastered and you & your H decorate it yourselves for now.

TheElementsSong Mon 09-May-16 17:31:13

The gas pipes and meter are actually more to the right hand side of the kitchen back wall, in fact looking at the filled-in bits of external brickwork I suspect that the boiler was on the right side of the kitchen. So the previous idiot owners ran the gas pipes sideways under the back kitchen window, then vertically up, in order to put the boiler in the little cupboard in DD2's bedroom. If we re-do the kitchen, we'd basically be putting the boiler back where it was (and we certainly don't want the pipes going sideways under the window, as that is the one we want to turn into French doors).

I would attach a photo of the existing stupid kitchen layout, in which they could easily have found space for a boiler cabinet instead of spending £££ moving it, but it is so bonkers unique that it would instantly out me.

TheElementsSong Mon 09-May-16 17:34:27

Cross-post with namechanged, again you have read my mind! That is pretty much exactly what we have planned for the kitchen-diner, right down to the doors we are planning to block up!

<Narrows eyes> Where did you say you live? Actually, all the houses on our road are of varying styles so you can't be a neighbour, but maybe somewhere nearby?

minipie Mon 09-May-16 17:45:02

Oh I see. <ponders>

In that case, could you build the little "outside boiler cupboard" onto the right hand side of the kitchen instead? Basically put it back where it used to be before previous owners moved it, but outside rather than inside? (not the back wall with the window/future french doors in, but the side wall). Appreciate it's not ideal there as you'd see it when you look through the dining room windows, but could solve the issue in a cheapish way, leaving enough £ for the upstairs ensuite to get sorted.

minipie Mon 09-May-16 17:49:18

What I'm envisaging is similar to houses I've seen where the boiler has been put into the old outside loo.

Millionsmom Mon 09-May-16 18:00:06

First thing I'd do is the boiler. If it's leaking, you'd never forgive yourself.

We did the bathroom and kitchen for a little less than £15K. We did most of it ourselves and called in the professionals for the legally required bits. The bathroom was moved upstairs and the boiler put in the old bathroom downstairs. I refused point blank the boiler on the bedroom.

But if you aren't so lucky, a smelly bathroom can be put up with but a leaking boiler can't be.

TheElementsSong Mon 09-May-16 18:09:11

The boiler (touch wood) is in good working order, we had it serviced and inspected as soon as we moved in. Also we have a battery-type CO monitor in the room. It just gives me the heebie-jeebies having a boiler in a bedroom.

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